NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 24, 2015, 10:41 PM
There was one thing missing from Odell Beckham Jr.’s all-encompassing apology.
He should have ended it by saying: Merry Christmas!
For the media, Beckham is now officially the gift that keeps on giving.
Notebooks, microphones, and cameras proclaimed this cat an All-World wideout before his time has come. He’s yet to win anything. Along with that premature honor, Beckham has now added another intriguing element to his persona, making him the total — gift-wrapped — package. He has proven to be a ticking time bomb, a guy who can lose it at the drop of a “Michael Jackson” reference.
Among other things (we will get to this later), Beckham’s mea culpa admission was an exercise in self-awareness. If he wasn’t already cognizant of the fact, Beckham now knows he has achieved the kind of “status” that will keep him under media scrutiny, 24/7, 365.
That’s kinda the message you get when a crush of cameras follows you out the door of NFL headquarters on Park Ave. into a waiting yellow cab. Not quite a perp walk, but you get the picture, right?
Merry Christmas, Odell.
This is not all Beckham’s doing. There was a before and after. In the days leading up to last Sunday — when he revealed his inner out-of-control-lunatic by spearing his tormentor, Josh Norman — the media built up the one-on-one matchup as if it were promoting a title fight. The over-the-top sell wound up fueling an inner rage.
The “fight” exceeded its hype. Unfortunately the duel quickly got out of hand. The action continued long after the final bell sounded. Beckham would produce a sleigh full of story lines.
Like Tom Coughlin. Once celebrated as a detail-oriented disciplinarian, he was reduced to a candy cane wearing a headset who didn’t have the onions to pull Beckham aside to cool him off. Coughlin provided even more ammunition for his detractors when he admitted he didn’t realize Beckham had been flagged three times for unnecessary moron penalties.
Thanks to the gift of Beckham, discussions about Coughlin’s future as Giants coach, or lack thereof, were resuscitated inside the Valley of the Stupid and other media precincts.
Thanks to Beckham, the media got its hands on a gift basket of goodies. The Panthers’ baseball bat, caught on video, became an issue. Stories of previous homophobic slurs directed at Beckham suddenly were revealed by a few former players turned NFL TV analysts who had spoken directly with him.
Mysterious video taken during warmups, showing Beckham yelling at somebody (presumably a Carolina player) surfaced on social media one day before Beckham’s hearing at NFL headquarters.
And all the while, day after day, that video of Beckham spearing Norman played on, bringing a dose of media hypocrisy into the equation.
While commentators (some, former NFL players) ripped up on Beckham for the hit, the video was airing multiple times in the span of seconds. The collision was terrible, but not nauseating enough to prevent TV outlets such as ESPN, NFL Network and FS1 from airing it over and over again, or using it as a promo, while these horrified Gasbags provided the sound track.
By the time Christmas Day is over, your hit will get as much play as that Elf on the Shelf video. Or the Yule Log.
Beckham also managed to reveal the Giants organization’s peeling off a few layers of thin skin. That’s the only way to describe Giants PR boss Pat Hanlon taking to Twitter to scold Sal (Sally Boy) Licata and Marc (Moose) Malusis, SNY’s “Loudmouths, “for debating whether Beckham will learn anything from this episode. Guess Hanlon didn’t dig their work. He referred to the duo as “nitwits.” At least Hanlon had the decency to refrain from calling them “ballerinas.”
Okay, so maybe Beckham is not a unifying force. He can’t do it all. Yet in terms of learning lessons, we think he’s learned an important one quickly. This notion was inspired Monday night by ESPN’s Tom Jackson. Of all the time spent analyzing Beckham, Jax really bottom-lined the hours of comments — literally.
“He (Beckham) has to understand he hurt his brand. All eyes are on Odell already,” Jackson said Monday night on the air. “He hurt his brand yesterday with the people watching him and all those companies that possibly will approach him.”
See, for all these players it always comes down to the moo-la-dee. Beckham is no different. Jax is right. In a split second Beckham destroyed his brand. You really think any corporation wants such an unpredictable person endorsing their product? A player whose mood swings led to a premeditated decision to seriously injure someone.
So, among other things Beckham was trying to accomplish with his apology was to convince numerous parties — including major corporations — that he is not a bad guy.
Now he will have a chance to prove it. The media spotlight belongs to him.
This is his gift. It’s one Odell Beckham Jr. cannot return.